A sneak peak at Jay’s book.
HERE IS THE PROLOGUE FOR JAY:
*This is unedited and subject to change.
I thought loving someone would be a dream. Easy, passionate, beautiful… my family sure makes it look that way; ma and pa, Kingston and Blythe, Derek and Iris and now Hunter and Taylor. My brother Hunter, the least likely person to fall in love.
So with my arm wrapped around this tiny, vulnerable woman I wonder why it’s not like that for me. It’s terrifying, controlling and delicate. It’s not her fault, it’s mine. It’s my fault I’m this way. It’s my fault I have my arm around her waist, acting like I need to protect her from my own family. A family I love with all my heart.
Everything is going well. It’s going better than I could have hoped for how awkward I’m makin’ this.
“Hey Jay,” Taylor, Hunter’s girlfriend, greets me before glancing down at the unexpected woman in my arms. “It’s so good to see you here. How are you?” Taylor asks Kailee directly.
Kailee trembles a bit in my arms but offers Taylor a tiny smile.
“Good, thank you,” she squeaks.
“That’s good to hear,” Taylor replies. “I-”
Taylor’s interrupted by a sound that instantly makes my whole body coil with tension. Growing up in a family where my father, two brothers and myself are loan sharks I’ve heard the sound of a gun before. But never has it scared me this much. Taylor immediately drops to the ground and covers her head. Kailee’s entire body goes stiff in my arms.
And oddly enough, this is the moment I know without a doubt that I’m in love.
Because for the first time in my life I don’t put my family first. I put her first.
I carry her to safety before going to my father and brothers who I know will be on the front lines, assessing the threat to keep everyone safe. I go to them to protect them from the threat. To have their backs.
“Hunter,” I hear Kingston whisper when I enter the room. His voice is full of concern, something our older brother doesn’t let slip lightly.
“No one appears to be here still,” Hunter mutters.
I glance over at the corner of the room to see a bullet through a picture of me, my brothers and pa. That photo was taken the day I joined the family business.
“Jay, Hunt,” Kingston calls for our attention again. There’s something in his voice that has dread settling in my stomach.
Kingston holds out a note for Hunter. Hunter takes it and holds it out so I can read it too. From the very first sentence my heart stops.
Well hello Shelby boys-
Guess you’re wondering where your father is, eh?
Funny, I’ve wondered where my money went many times.
I’ve wondered where my girl Kailee is too, more recently.
Guess I figured I finally got something back from the man who ruined my fucking life by taking my money and birthing you shits.
You wanna save him?
Hand over the girl.
We can call it even.
Bring her to your favorite spot Hunter.
See you soon boys-
“Over my dead body,” I growl immediately.
Kingston schools his features, but I know he’s panicking. He’s gonna carry the burden of finding our father and keeping our family safe even if that burden is not all his to carry.
“I know,” Kingston murmurs. “Pop wouldn’t want that. He always knew the risk of the business. Someone’s fucking with our family. We handle that ourselves. Jay, can you protect her?”
Her being Kailee. Damn right I can… I give a sharp nod.
“We still need you Jay,” Hunter says. No, pleads. “We need you. Pop’s missing.”
Hunter has always been the jokester of the family, but in moments of crisis, of pain, he’s the most vulnerable. Honestly, I’d say more so than Iris, our little sister, even.
“If you think for one second I won’t have your backs you’re wrong,” I tell them, shaking my head. “We’ll find pop, alive.”
“Alive,” Hunter murmurs.
“Who’s gonna tell mom?” I whisper, knowing this will shatter her. Ma and pop have one of those classic love stories people only dream about.
“Fuck,” Hunter hisses.
Kingston nods, ever the strong one. “I will. I made a promise to pop to protect his girls. To protect this family. I won’t fail him. Now, let’s get our families home safe. We’ll meet back here in thirty minutes. And… pray,” King whispers. “Pa will need it.”
I turn back to the living room, thinking of the woman I have locked up safe in ma and pop’s shelter. A woman I made promises to. Promises I intend to keep.
I can keep them all safe.
Kailee. Kingston and Blythe. Hunter and Taylor. Ma. Derek and Iris. Iris’s two kids- Aria and Carson. Kingston and Blythe’s kid- Conner. Hunter and Taylor’s adopted daughter of sorts- Willow. Pa.
That’s the lie I tell myself.
Unfortunately, life doesn’t always play out how we pray it will, does it?
Eeeek. I hope y’all are as excited as I am. I am loving Jay so far and ADORING Kailee. She is probably one of my favorite female leads so far. This book has soooo many unexpected turns I really think y’all are gonna be shocked. As I reach the end of Jay I’m a little sad this is the last Shelby book, but I gotta end it sometime and this is the perfect book to do it!